Co-Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Adam Payne, Claire-Louise Cordwell
Awards: Nominated for 2008 BAFTA Television Best Actor (Tom Hardy), winner of 2008 Banff Television Festival’s Rockie Award for Best Made for Television Movie and Special Jury Prize for Best Drama, winner of 2008 Reims International Television Days Audience Award for Best TV-Movie and Best Screenplay, winner of 2008 Royal Television Society award for Best Single Drama
Synopsis: Adapted by Alexander Masters from his award-winning 2005 biographer of his homeless friend Stuart Shorter, Stuart: A Life Backwards is a poignant, funny, ultimately tragic true story that unfolds like a whodunit, tracing in reverse (as the title suggests) how a young boy was transformed into a violent convict and substance abuser. The narrative unfolds in two directions. Moving forward, Alexander (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Stuart (Tom Hardy) forge an unlikely bond as they campaign to right a miscarriage of justice in Cambridge, England. Moving backwards, Stuart slowly reveals his harrowing life story to Alexander, encompassing bouts of violence and madness, stints in prison, a lifelong battle with muscular dystrophy, and, most telling, a horrific, abuse-filled childhood. Along the way, there are some surprisingly tender and funny moments, and Alexander learns much from his unique friend until past and present tragically collide. Inventively employing flashbacks and animated sequences, the film is told in a fashion that is as unforgettable as Stuart is. Part murder mystery-part emotional exploration, Stuart: A Life Backwards probes the deepest regions of the human heart.
Stuart was the best role I’ve ever had – probably ever will have. I could stop now, technically. I’m not going to, because I love the craft, I love playing, I love acting. But that is as good as it gets, for me. – Tom Hardy